4 - 8 hours
Local with or without sedation
12 - 18 months
A hair transplant, also called hair restoration surgery, is a surgical procedure that can help you regrow hair in areas where it has been lost. Although hair loss does not cause any physical harm, it may cause distress and psychological harm.
4 - 8 hours
Local with or without sedation
12 - 18 months
You may consider having hair transplant surgery if you are experiencing:
The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. It can affect both men and women at any age and is often a normal process of ageing. In some cases however, there may be other causes of hair loss which can include:
Androgenetic Alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss that affects a large percentage of men and women. It is also called “Male Pattern Hair Loss”, “Female Pattern Hair Loss” or Androgenic Alopecia. It is caused by a mix of genetic and hormonal factors, with Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) being the main hormone involved. This hormone causes hair loss by progressively reducing the size of the hair follicles until they disappear. The hair that is lost cannot grow back as the damage done to the hair follicles is permanent.
Androgenetic Alopecia can be inherited from one or both parents and the pattern of hair loss often differs for men and women. The severity of hair loss can also range from less noticeable hair thinning to complete baldness.
Male Pattern Hair Loss typically causes men to lose hair from the top and front sides of their head, leading to the development of a frontal receding hairline. Apart from hair loss, the scalp is not affected in any other way. The hair loss usually occurs gradually over many years, although men can begin to notice the first signs at any time after puberty.
Female Pattern Hair Loss usually causes widespread hair loss or hair thinning that mainly affects the top of the head. Women usually develop FPHL at a later age than men. The condition can be associated with underlying medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), or can occur as a result of menopause. In some cases, a doctor or hair loss specialist may need to run some tests to find out the reason for the hair loss as it may be caused by a treatable medical condition.
Alopecia Areata is a common cause of hair loss that can affect both men and women at any age. Although the exact cause of Alopecia Areata is unknown, it is believed to be brought on by an issue with the immune system. This issue makes the body attack and damage healthy hair follicles when it is not supposed to, therefore causing hair loss.
It usually causes small patches of baldness leading to “patchy hair loss”. This type of alopecia most commonly develops on the scalp, however it can also develop on:
Sometimes, larger patches of hair can be lost from specific areas which can be called Alopecia Totalis (hair loss from the whole scalp), Alopecia Universalis (hair loss from the entire body and scalp) and Alopecia Barbae (hair loss from facial hair).
Although this condition cannot be cured, it is not permanent and there is a high chance that the hair that’s been lost will naturally grow back without needing treatment. Due to this, most surgeons will not perform a hair transplant on patients suffering from Alopecia Areata.
Scarring Alopecias can also be called Cicatricial Alopecias. They are a rare group of disorders that produce hair loss by damaging hair follicles. In this case however, they also scar the follicles which can sometimes lead to a burning, painful or itchy scalp.
Scarring Alopecias can affect men and women of any age, but are less commonly found in children.
Children and teenagers can also develop premature hair loss for a number of reasons including:
Teenagers may also develop early signs of Male or Female Pattern Hair Loss that has been inherited from their parents.
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Although hair loss does not cause any damage to physical health, it can have quite a large impact on many people’s mental health. Because of this, both men and women search for hair loss cures, remedies and treatments to help stimulate hair growth in areas where it has been lost.
Even though there are a number of different non-surgical hair loss treatments, some people find that these remedies cannot provide the long-lasting, dramatic results that they wish to have. For this reason, more and more people consider having hair surgery to achieve an effective solution to their hair loss.
Hair transplants are most commonly used to treat Male or Female Pattern Hair Loss (Androgenetic Alopecia), or to treat hair loss as a result of injury or burns. A hair transplant cannot however, treat Alopecia Areata.
If you have trouble with hair loss, hair thinning or baldness, you may be suitable for a hair transplant if you:
Before deciding whether or not to go ahead with a hair transplant, you should consider that it may not be possible to achieve the exact results that you want from the procedure. For this reason, it is important that you have an honest conversation with your surgeon about what you would like to achieve, as they will be able to tell you if this is possible or not.
You should also consider that if you do not have a large amount of healthy hair left, you may not be able to have the surgery at all.
Although there are no strict age restrictions for hair transplant surgery, every surgeon and clinic has individual age limits for the procedures they offer. Many surgeons do however, recommend that patients wait until they are at least 25 years old before having this type of surgery, especially if the cause of the hair loss is Male or Female Pattern Hair Loss.
The reason for this is based on the fact that young people’s hair loss will most likely continue as they age, and the surgeon cannot predict for sure which areas will be affected or how much hair they will lose over time. This means that they need to wait to see if the patch of healthy hair they plan on using for surgery will still be there, or as they call it, “remain stable” over the years.
If they perform the surgery too early and the area of hair they used for the transplant begins to fall out, not only will this ruin the cosmetic result of the procedure, but it may also reveal the scar that was left behind in the donor area.
Sometimes hair loss is only temporary and your hair will grow back over time, without needing treatment. In other cases, however, the hair loss may be permanent and you may want to explore your treatment options. There are many different approaches that you can take to try to reverse the hair loss or slow down the thinning of your hair.
When seeking any type of treatment for hair loss, it is important to be patient during your hair growth treatment journey. This is because it takes time for your hair to grow, as it goes through the different stages of growth.
All the hair on your body goes through different cycles of growth over the course of your lifetime. This process is called “the hair growth cycle” and it is made up of three main phases:
Treatments for hair loss can range from non-surgical approaches such as medication to surgical options such as a hair transplant.
Some natural treatment options for hair loss and thinning can include:
Some synthetic medications that may be able to treat male and female pattern baldness include:
If you do not want to take any medications or supplements, you can also use cosmetic products to cover up your hair loss. These products can include:
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT), also called red light therapy or cold laser therapy, involves the use of a laser comb to increase the blood flow to the area of hair loss. This increased blood flow encourages the hair to grow back. LLLT has shown to be effective in treating both male and female pattern baldness, however, as this is a relatively new treatment, it’s efficacy requires further medical research.
A hair transplant is a surgical operation that involves relocating hair from an area that has lots of hair, to an area that is losing hair.
The “healthy” area of hair that has not been affected by hair loss is called the donor site, or the safe zone. The area that is experiencing hair loss or balding is called the recipient site.
Hair transplants should only be performed by a surgeon with adequate training and experience in dermatology and surgical hair transplants.
You may find that there are clinics offering surgical hair transplants that are performed by people who aren’t trained surgeons. Having treatment with these clinics can be quite dangerous as the staff may not have surgical training, which increases the likelihood of complications occurring both before and after treatment.
Hair transplant surgery usually takes around 2 to 8 hours to complete. You may also need to have more than one surgery, depending on how large the area you want to be treated is.
A hair transplant is usually carried out using local anaesthetic with sedation. This is given to you before the surgery, and will only numb the areas you are having treated. Although you will be awake during surgery, you should not feel any pain.
There are two main ways a hair transplant can be performed:
Follicular Unit Transplantation (FUT), also called the strip method, is a procedure that involves removing a strip of healthy skin and hair, and relocating it to a balding area. It is most commonly used to treat hair loss on the scalp.
The procedure is performed as follows:
After all the grafts are put in place, your surgeon will close the wound left behind when they removed the large strip at the start. The may use dissolvable or non-dissolvable stitches to close this wound.
Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE), also called a Follicular Transfer (FT), is a procedure that involves the removal and relocation of individual hairs. This procedure is also most commonly performed on the scalp, but can be used to treat other parts of the body as well.
The procedure is performed as follows:
The total number of grafts required for full hair restoration depends on:
The total number of grafts that are usually required for full hair restoration can range from 1400 to 6400 follicular unit grafts.
The main difference between FUT and FUE is the way in which the hair follicles are taken from the donor area. There are some other differences between the two procedures, such as:
Your surgeon will discuss which surgical method is the best option for you.
This leaves behind very small “dotted” scars as shown below. The scars will be present in both the donor and recipient sites, but can easily be concealed by neighbouring hair after it grows back.
The FUT procedure will leave behind a single linear scar at the donor site, as shown below. This scar will fade over time but may be visible if the hair is cut very short.
There are a number of different areas where a hair transplant can be performed. These include:
Most surgeons use the FUE technique to perform these procedures.
Your hair transplant consultation will be the first time that you will meet your surgeon. It can usually last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour. During this consultation, you will get to know your surgeon and also have the opportunity to:
Once you have had a chance to talk about these points, your surgeon will examine the areas that you are concerned about (e.g. your scalp), and will ask some specific questions such as:
You should answer the questions that your surgeon asks you honestly, as this will help ensure your safety should you decide to go ahead with surgery. Being open and honest with your surgeon throughout your consultation will also help them recommend the most suitable treatment option for you.
Your consultation is the best time for you to ask any questions you may have about your surgery. It is a good idea to spend some time thinking of what you would like to ask before you see your surgeon. Make sure you write these questions down and take them with you, so that you do not forget to ask the things that are most important to you!
Below are some examples of questions you could ask your surgeon:
Making sure you are well prepared for your surgery can not only reduce the risk of complications occurring, but can also help you during your recovery.
Before you have your operation, your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how best to prepare for your hair transplant. It is vital that you follow these instructions to ensure your safety and smooth recovery.
As hair loss can be caused by a number of medical conditions, it is important that you speak to your GP before you go in for a consultation with a hair specialist. Your GP will examine you and run any necessary tests to ensure that the hair loss cannot be treated medically first.
Your surgeon will tell you how you should prepare your hair before treatment.
They may ask that you do not cut it for a certain period of time before the treatment, so that you have enough hair that can be used for the transplant. They may also ask you to massage your treatment area leading up to the procedure to help soften the skin.
Some general tips that may be useful for your preparation include:
We appreciate that getting on top of housework can sometimes be difficult even on a normal day! You might therefore want to get some of the big jobs out of the way before your surgery. For example, you may like to do the laundry, take the bins out and do a big grocery shop on the day before your procedure. This will hopefully relieve any stress you may have about doing chores on the first few days of your recovery.
For the first few days following your procedure, you should try to wear clothing that fastens from the front or the back, rather than clothing that has to be pulled over your head. This will help you avoid irritating and/or injuring your treatment area.
Your surgeon may also ask you to wear a headband after surgery. If you usually need to wear glasses, it might be a good idea to buy contact lenses which you can use until you are able to take this headband off.
You should try to take it easy for the first couple of days of your recover. You may therefore like to ask your friends or family to help you look after any children or pets during this time.
For safety reasons, you will be unable to drive yourself home after your surgery. It is therefore important to arrange for a family member or friend to collect you from the clinic or hospital you are having your procedure in.
Your surgeon might recommend that you eat healthy low-sodium foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables after surgery. You should try to stay hydrated with water and caffeine-free beverages. Try to also avoid consuming high amounts of salt and sugar during your recovery time.
It is vital that you follow all of the instructions your surgeon gives you on:
Smoking in particular reduces the amount of blood that reaches your treatment area, causing your wounds to take longer to heal, and therefore increasing the risk of you developing an infection. Stopping smoking and using nicotine products can help reduce this risk. Most surgeons recommend that you do not smoke, vape or use any nicotine products for a minimum of 6 weeks to 3 months before and after surgery.
You should also try to maintain a healthy diet throughout your recovery, to help your body heal itself.
There are a number of different surgical methods that surgeons can use to perform a hair transplant. The recovery process can therefore differ depending on which of these methods your surgeon uses. In any case however, it is incredibly important that you follow the specific instructions your surgeon gives you during your recovery. This will not only make sure that you recover safely, but will also help you achieve better results.
The recovery process differs from patient to patient but this hair transplant timeline can give you a general idea of what to expect:
The area where you have had treatment is likely to feel tight, sore and swollen for the first few days. It can be quite common to feel some pain after the procedure, but your surgeon will prescribe some painkillers to help keep you comfortable.
Your surgeon will also place a bandage around the treatment area and give you specific instructions on how long you have to wear this for. This bandage helps reduce swelling and bruising, as well as helping to keep your transplanted hair in its place so that it doesn’t move.
If your surgeon uses a local anaesthetic for your treatment, you may feel that your treatment area is still numb or tingly for a few hours after the surgery. This feeling is temporary and should settle down within a few hours.
Most patients are able to go back home the same day they have had their surgery.
If your surgeon used a sedative or a general anaesthetic, you may feel groggy or disorientated when you wake up. The effects of these medications can take up to 24 hours to wear off. This means that it will not be safe for you to drive and you must ask a family member or friend to pick you up and take you home.
Most patients can return to work fairly soon after their hair transplant. Usually, surgeons recommend that you return to work after about 3 to 7 days. However, this again does depend on:
If your role at work is more physically demanding than an office job, you may need to take more time off.
Your doctor may recommend that you take it easy before jumping back into sports and exercise. They may recommend that you avoid the following for the first 3 to 4 weeks after your procedure:
Your surgeon may also advise that you refrain from sexual activity for around 10 days.
You should ask your surgeon for specific timeframes of when you will be able to resume sports, exercise and sex.
Most surgeons recommend that you wait around 2 weeks before going back to your normal hair care routine.
You have to be very careful with how you handle your hair straight after having treatment. As mentioned before, the newly transplanted grafts of hair are not yet fixed in their place. You may therefore need to wait a few days before you can take your bandage off and wash your hair again. At first, you may be asked to only wash it gently by hand. Over time as the grafts become a bit more secure, you can work towards resuming your normal hair care routine.
Your surgeon may also give you a spray or lotion to apply to the treatment area after your operation.
You will need to go back to see your surgeon a few times are treatment.
The first follow-up appointment is usually made after 1 to 2 weeks and may be done with a nurse or your surgeon. During this appointment your nurse or surgeon will check how well you are recovering, remove any non-dissolvable sutures and replace or remove your dressings.
Your surgeon is likely to schedule more follow-up appointments over the course of the next few weeks to ensure everything is healing correctly.
It is important to realise that it will take a long time before you see the final results of your hair transplant, so you will need to be patient. How dramatic the results are will also differ from patient to patient.
A few weeks after your surgery, you may notice that your “new” hair is beginning to fall out. This can be worrying as it may lead you to think that the hair transplant didn’t work. Try not to worry though, because this is normal and almost always temporary! After around 3 to 6 months you will begin to notice that new hair starts to grow in its place.
As hair takes a long time to grow, it’s usually only after 12 to 18 months before you can really begin to appreciate the final results of your treatment.
The average cost of a hair transplant in the UK can cost anywhere from £1,000 to £30,000. The price that you will be quoted depends on:
The cost of your hair transplant may be calculated based on how many “grafts” you need for the transplant. A graft is an area of hair that includes around 1 to 4 hair follicles. The number of grafts needed differs for every patient but can range from 500 to 4,000 (some patients may need more and some patients may need less).
Yes we do! We work closely with our finance provider, Chrysalis, to help you pay for your hair transplant. This option is currently only available for the FUE ( Follicular Unit Extraction) procedure. You can check to see if you are eligible for our finance option by calling us on 02034119171 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
No, hair transplant surgery is not usually available on the NHS as they do not normally pay for cosmetic treatments.
Most cosmetic surgeons will be happy to see you for an initial consultation without needing a referral from your GP. If you plan to go ahead with a hair transplant, your surgeon may ask your permission to contact your GP so that they can access your medical history.
It is common to experience some tightness, aching or swelling in your treatment area for a few days after your procedure. You may also experience some scabbing in the area where the hair was transplanted, and you will also have at least one scar. The scar is not usually noticeable as it is covered by the new hair growth and may only be seen if you cut your hair very short.
More serious risks of hair transplants include: anaesthetic risks, infection, bleeding and nerve damage. These more severe side effects are however, quite rare.
Yes! Many people don’t want to have invasive surgery and some people aren’t suitable for a hair transplant. For these people, there are a number of other options for treating hair thinning and alopecia, including:
It is a good idea to speak to your GP or a hair loss specialist if you want to try using hair loss medication. They will be able to advise you on which products are safe to use, and how to get access to them.
Hair loss and hair thinning can be caused by a number of different things. If it is due to reversible conditions such as stress or a medication, then seeking help with the stress or switching the medication may help reverse or reduce the hair loss. If however, it is due to Alopecia Areata or Androgenetic Alopecia, then it is important to realise that there is no cure for these conditions.
Despite this, there are some medications available that may be able to slow down the progression of, and partially restore some hair that has been lost. An example of this is a medication called minoxidil solution (Rogaine). This medication is currently not available on the NHS. If you are considering trialling it, you should ask for advice from a medical doctor or a hair specialist to ensure that you are using it safely.
It is important to note that this medication needs to be used for at least 6 months before any results begin to show, and that it will stop working if you stop using it.
A hair transplant is generally considered to be a permanent solution for hair loss if the donor hair that has been used for the transplant has been taken from the “safe zone”.
The safe zone is the area of healthy hair that is not currently affected by hair loss, and is not thought to be affected by hair loss in the future. Therefore if the hair follicles are taken from the safe donor area and relocated to the balding recipient area, they should remain there permanently.
When performed correctly on eligible patients, hair transplants do work. This does not mean however, that they will work for anyone who has lost hair. For example, it won’t work on:
It is important to remember that it does take time to see the final results of a hair transplant.
If you are unsure about your eligibility, you should speak to your GP to see if you are a suitable candidate for surgery.
A hair transplant is normally safe if it is performed by a highly qualified and experienced plastic surgeon. It is highly advisable for you to research the surgeon who will be performing your surgery, to ensure they have the necessary qualifications and experience. You should also pay attention to the hospital or clinic you will be having the procedure in, to make sure they meet the safety standards set by the CQC (Care Quality Commission).
It is important to consider however, that as with any surgical procedure, hair transplants do come with risks. This means that even the most highly qualified and skilled surgeon cannot guarantee that nothing will go wrong. This is why it is so important to read through all of the risks and complications before you choose to go ahead with surgery.
Many people consider going abroad to places like Turkey, India, America and Canada to receive hair transplants.
Although this might be a cheaper option, many surgeons advise against going abroad to have surgery. This is due to a number of reasons but it mostly concerns your safety. The things that you should consider that may hinder your safety include:
If you decide to go ahead with having surgery abroad despite the above points, make sure you educate yourself on all of the risks and plan well to ensure that you are as safe as possible.
As people with different ethnic backgrounds all have different hair textures and types, the approach a surgeon will take when performing a hair transplant will of course be different.
The surgeon will need to consider the different types of hairlines that African, Asian, Hispanic and Caucasian men and women have. For example, African men tend to have tight, curly hair with more straight, sharply defined hairlines. In contrast, Asian men tend to have straight, coarse hair with a less sharply defined hairline.
Communicating honestly and clearly with your surgeon about the results you want will help them tailor the surgery more specifically to you.